When to Seek Treatment for Your Neuroma

Jul 01, 2023
When to Seek Treatment for Your Neuroma
A neuroma is a benign growth that forms around a nerve, and when one forms in your foot, every step can be painful. If you have a neuroma, here’s how to tell when to seek medical treatment.

Many issues can cause foot pain, including neuromas, which are painful lumps that form around a nerve on the bottom of your foot. If you have a neuroma, the key is knowing when to seek treatment so you can find relief and prevent the problem from getting worse.

At Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC, Joel S Segalman, FACFAS, FACFAO, and Stephen Lazaroff, DPM, FACFAS, offer advanced treatment options for neuromas in patients at their practices in Waterbury and Newtown, Connecticut. Here, learn when to seek treatment — and how we can help.

Quick facts about neuromas

A neuroma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor that forms in the bottom of your foot below the toe area. Morton’s neuroma is the most common type in the foot, affecting the nerve between the third and fourth toes.

Most neuromas form from tissue surrounding the nerve, not the nerve itself. As the neuroma grows, increasing pressure on the nerve causes a variety of symptoms. 

Lots of issues can lead to neuroma, including:

  • Inherited foot shape
  • Wearing high heels
  • Wearing tight-fitting shoes
  • Wearing shoes with pointed toes
  • Other foot problems, like bunions, hammertoes, or flat feet
  • Repetitive-impact activities, like running or jumping
  • Unusual gait patterns, like rolling your feet inward

Neuromas can also develop after surgery or traumatic injury.

When to seek treatment

It’s always wise to have any foot pain evaluated. That’s because some causes of foot pain — including neuromas — tend to worsen over time. Without immediate treatment, you could wind up with permanent nerve damage that affects your ability to walk and perform other tasks.

Specifically, you should seek care right away if you notice symptoms like:

  • A lump in the ball of your foot — even without pain
  • Swelling between or at the base of your toes
  • Burning pain when standing or walking
  • Numbness or tingling around the toes
  • Shock-like sensations when putting pressure on the area
  • Foot pain that interferes with walking or other activity
  • Increasing discomfort or pain

Unlike other foot problems, like blisters, a neuroma won’t go away with “home remedies,” like ice therapy or rest.

It’s also important to know that very small neuromas may not cause any painful symptoms. However, any lump needs medical evaluation because neuromas can grow larger over time.

Treating a painful neuroma

Treatment for a neuroma begins with a physical exam and diagnostic imaging to confirm that your nerve is causing your symptoms. Foot pain has many causes, so an accurate diagnosis is essential for helping you find relief.

Once a neuroma is confirmed, we suggest a treatment option based on your symptoms, the size of the neuroma, and other factors. Treatment options include:

  • Custom orthotics
  • Padded inserts
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve

Most patients begin with more conservative treatments, reserving surgery for neuromas that don’t respond to orthotics, medication, or corticosteroid injection.

Many people with neuromas respond well to injections of dehydrated alcohol. In this therapy, we inject an alcohol solution around the neuroma. The solution works by reducing the size of the neuroma over time, often avoiding the need for future surgery.

Do not ignore your foot pain

Your feet play a critical role in your everyday life, but we often take them for granted — until we have pain or other symptoms. Foot pain is never standard, and without prompt care, you could have a permanent disability.

To learn what’s causing your foot pain or if you think you might have a neuroma, request an appointment online or over the phone today with the team at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists.